HALABI, MEPHISTO - The Arabic Room

"A critical meditation on variations of Orientalism practiced by Arabs themselves, as well as those who were born and raised within the diaspora. It originally began as a documentation of extended drum techniques, but eventually morphed into a project of more ambitious scope. Having an open timeframe, Julius Masri gave himself reasons to include all the instruments he obsessively picked up and learned over the years. The work accumulated intentions and guiding principles, and it became rather autobiographical in nature. Some of the tracks either refer to or were recorded in the actual physical spaces he grew up near, in Tripoli, Lebanon during the 1980s. The Arabic Room the title refers to is the sitting room in his family's house that was decked out in hyper orientalist exoticism, mashing together furniture, fixtures, paintings from all over the Arabic speaking world. The sitting room, or salon, is common in Lebanese homes made specifically to host and entertain guests. Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and other western made Orientalist cultural artifacts not only had ubiquitous presence in the house, but also found their way onto TV shows and commercials. After moving to the US, his parents recreated this room in their home. Additionally, his father's generation was one that saw their country transform from a post-agrarian trading society after WWII to a center of banking and finance within the span of a few decades. The sense of some lost Eden-like innocence of the interwar years permeated much of the media that was available to him growing up there. This album is neither ironic nor some judgmental pronouncement. Call it critical nostalgia. For Masri, there isn't much difference between this form of exotic fantasy creation, and his own adolescence steeped in comic books and listening to bands like Voivod. They both seem to him part of what's known in German as Fernweh, "a nostalgia for a place one's never been". All instruments are performed by Masri himself, (drums, Egyptian rababa, Azeri kamancheh, circuit bent electronics, keyboards, hammered dulcimer, and vocals). Genre-hopping is foundational to the album's ethos; jazz, metal, experimental, electro-chaabi, and sound collage all appear within the framework of Arabic music, creating the sense of adventurous possibilities best associated with well curated mixtapes. Edition of 300.

Julius Masri is a Philadelphia-based multi-instrumentalist and performer/composer, originally born in Tripoli, Lebanon. The Arabic Room is his debut solo-album. Currently he is working and playing with members of the Sun Ra Arkestra." - Unrock.

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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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